Union Square is famous for many things: the countless workers union protests, the farmer’s market during the summer, as well as the numerous shops and restaurants. I’ve only recently become familiar with the neighborhood and have been discovering many hidden restaurants on its streets. With many of my friends attending NYU, just around the corner from Union Square, I’ve seen many pictures on Facebook of this one particular restaurant that seemed to be their favorite. The restaurant, called Cafetasia, offers Thai cuisine for an affordable price so that college students, like myself, can enjoy a quality meal without draining our wallets. Standing on 38 East 8th Street, Cafetasia is a spacious restaurant, dimly lit with a chic, modern interior. Surrounded by wooden tiles with mirrors placed in between them, the entire restaurant gave a hip yet romantic vibe that many college students are on the lookout for.
Upon being seated my friend and I had decided on an early bird special which goes from 4PM to 7PM. Luckily for us, it was ten before seven so we were able to get an appetizer, an entrée, and a drink for just $11. For starters, we both decided on the spring rolls, which came out to our table fairly quickly. The spring rolls were cooked with an extra crunch, and the unique thing about them was that they came drizzled in sauce, rather than having a dipping sauce on the side. I especially liked the presentation of our appetizers, particularly because dipping anything in a sauce plate tends to leave a mess and does not leave room for double dipping. The sweet, syrupy sauce that covered the spring rolls worked well as the appetizer to our meals, leaving both of us craving for more.
As my entrée, I ordered the shrimp pad Thai (bottom left), one of my favorite Thai dishes, and my friend ordered the grilled pork tenderloin with sautéed vegetables (bottom right). The pad Thai was a bit too salty for my friend’s taste, but I enjoyed it very much, finding the mixture of vegetables, flat rice noodles, and shrimp delectable. The grilled pork tenderloin came with a sauce that gave a hint of apple cider, and the two put together worked well together to complete the dish. Cooked well-done, the pork was rougher than the type of meat that I usually eat, but because it was sliced into thin strips, there was no difficulty chewing or anything of that sort. As part of the early bird special, my friend had ordered the Thai iced coffee and I had gotten the Thai iced tea. The sweet, woody taste of my Thai iced tea accompanied the pad Thai wonderfully, adding more exotic flavors to the already flavorful dish, giving me a full taste of Thailand.
I always enjoy a good Thai meal and I’m always on the lookout for the best pad Thai. Cafetasia was beautifully decorated, and I was satisfied with the overall ambiance of the restaurant. Lively and modern, Cafetasia is definitely an “it” spot for college students looking to get away from their mundane dorm lives. With its special vibe that can only be found in city restaurants, and its affordable menu, there’s no surprise or doubt in Cafetasia’s popularity amongst local eaters and even food-travelers like me. If you’re in the neighborhood or want to take a trip to Union Square, don’t hesitate in trying out Cafetasia – you’ll walk away satisfied with their reasonably priced, high-quality, exotic meal.
Take a look at Cafetasia’s menu at: http://www.cafetasia.com/